Catherine McKinnell (born 8 June 1976) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle upon Tyne Northsince 2010. She was elected with 40.8% of the vote, and a majority of 3,414 over her Liberal Democrat rival.
McKinnell was born in Denton and grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne, where she attended the Sacred Heart Comprehensive School in Fenham. She studied politics and history at the University of Edinburgh, and before her election to Parliament she worked as an employment solicitor in the Newcastle law firmDickinson Dees, becoming one of 19 solicitors newly elected to the House of Commons.
She was elected to Parliament at the 2010 general election for Newcastle upon Tyne North. In October 2010, the new Labour Leader Ed Miliband appointed her to the role of Shadow Solicitor General, where she was responsible for the party's response to the News International phone hacking scandal. She raised questions about the CPS's handling of the scandal, including asking in the House of Commons why the CPS had refused for so long to admit that there were grounds to bring prosecutions.
In October 2011, during a shadow ministerial reshuffle, Catherine McKinnell was made shadow children's minister, shadowing Tim Loughton. In that post she criticised the adoption process as too slow and called for immediate improvements in support for social workers and family courts to speed up the process. She also accused the government of doing too little to help children for whom adoption was not suitable.
McKinnell backed a campaign by ActionAid on international tax laws  and tabled amendments to the Budget which would have required the government to monitor the impact on developing countries of changes to so-called Controlled Foreign Companies regulations. She said, "It seems a false economy to invest ... in changes that will undermine the very progress towards which our international aid money, which increases year on year, is going.". In June 2012, McKinnell publicly criticised Take That singer Gary Barlow following newspaper allegations of tax avoidance made against him. McKinnell agreed that Barlow should consider returning his recently awarded OBE if allegations of tax avoidance were proven "because it doesn't send out the right messages to ordinary people who are paying their fair share of tax."